Settling In

  • By OSNS

    Published on 28 March 2012

As founder of the New School of Old Ways, I am quietly pleased that things are settling nicely into place during the early days, and I am not just saying that. To take the creative risk on my behalf to initiate a radically different departure in design education has not been without its associated stress, and I wondered whether people were actually ready to embrace the change. The School is attracting a specialised niche of smart students who really want to learn and demonstrate a high level of commitment and curiosity.

They all bring an interesting mix of life experience to add to the dynamic, and they are all co-operative which enables us to focus on learning and moving forward without impediments and stumbling blocks. They know how to have crazy mad fun and are never boring! I cannot tell you how excited and pleased I am that the project has launched! And we have only just began with so much more in store. 

The school is an authentic and supportive learning space where students trust one another and feel safe to share their ideas and experiences without being judged negatively. Students feel comfortable critiquing one another's work knowing that all feedback is constructive valuable and helpful. They embrace the process knowing that it is essential to their learning. 

If you want to study in a fun and positive learning environment without the disruption of students who have other agendas this is the place to be! I know that from my decade of teaching experience that a course is only as good as the students it attracts. These are the students who make it possible for excellent teaching strategies to bring remarkable results and collaborations. It is our focus on the love of learning rather than profit that enables us to grow organically, and pick our students carefully as I never understood why it was ok for just one or two to ruin it for the majority when was completing my design education and also teaching in other programs. 

Module One of the Program is Nearly Completed

Our dedicated team of design students are all working hard powering through our first program module and this week and this Wednesday evening will present their work that relates to the narrative power of type to connote meaning when the way we handle type can knowingly or unknowingly seduce, repel, attract, bore, rouse, scream, or embarrass. Bianca Van Meeuwen has been blogging about her student experiences here. This is a good blog to follow if you want to map the progress of one student. 

In week one students examined the history of type, type classifications & families and how to use them. They then applied this knowledge by creating a directional type poster that uses type as image to explain their journey to and from the School for Design and Typography. As you can see the our students came into the course with considerable skills and knowledge which was a bonus. 

In week two students were given the simple task of redesigning a document to heighten their awareness of the creative scope of working with type families. 

Students are busy refining their project work of creating a modular alphabet constructed from basic shapes and next week their type module will conclude when we finish by reflecting over the whole module by focussing in on the fine details of typography by looking at "typographic sins". People always enjoy this aspect of learning typography maybe because it enables us to give our critical tendencies full force. Then its on to the next module "Type and Image" when students will step it up to the next tricky level of integrating type and image. 

The First Dimension

Our students who have just commenced doing our short course called The First Dimension had the task of drawing a chair which seemed so simple. Even though I had explained and demonstrated my fail proof process of drawing chairs, boxes and tables so that they are not out of proportion, most of the students felt stressed and found it challenging. 

Questions eluded such as "where should I start?", and "I can't draw I have to start again". Soon all of the chatter subsided as students became immersed in the task of just trusting the process and continuing to adjust inaccuracies in their drawing until it was working. 

Nearly all of the students drew the base of the chair (where our bottom is placed) too wide, and they soon learned that what we think we see and what actually is in front of us is radically different. 

I was too busy reminding students how to hold their pencils and helping them to correct the proportions and shapes of drawings to take photos! Next time. 

The whole process felt strange to some students at first, but stressed students soon became calm and relaxed and chatty ones focussed as the process kicked in. Via the implementation of various exercises, other quick students learned to slow down and really look at their subject matter rather than hurrying ahead and inventing what was in front of them. 

Thanks for reading